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Snow means slow going on Long Island roads and rails

LIRR riders wait at Penn Station during the

LIRR riders wait at Penn Station during the winter storm on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, as service was suspended on four branches. Credit: Louis Lanzano

Fallen power lines and toppled trees, casualties of a late-winter storm, draped across LIRR railroad tracks.

Train service out of Penn Station dwindled to near nonexistence.

Shivering, frustrated commuters, some literally left out in the cold, wondered how they’d make it home.

Late Wednesday night, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office released a statement saying commuters can expect a regular LIRR schedule Thursday morning.

At one point Wednesday, six LIRR branches were suspended as crews combed the span of track from Penn Station to Montauk, clearing power lines and tree branches. Only one line — Port Washington — shuttled passengers to Long Island.

By about 5 p.m., white-out conditions had hit parts of Long Island, making already dangerous roads that much more treacherous.

None of that could keep Glen Cove resident Juliann Rufenacht from her Lotto tickets. She stayed in much of the day but by late afternoon, she had to check her numbers.

“I’m driving like a turtle,” said Rufenacht, 65, stopped at a Mobil gas station on Glen Cove Avenue. By then, the roads had turned from slushy to downright snowy.

For Rufenacht, two nor’easters in less than a week were more than enough.

“It’s time for this to end,” she said.

Rufenacht had the right idea by staying put for much of the day and she wasn’t alone.

The LIRR reported a drop in riders Wednesday of about 12.5 percent, or nearly 38,000. On an average weekday, more than 305,000 commuters ride its rails.

By 9 p.m., the railroad tweeted: “scattered system-wide delays following an earlier service suspension caused by multiple fallen PSEGLI lines and weather-related signal problems.”

LIRR platform waiting rooms will remain open round-the-clock through Thursday for customers waiting for trains during the storm, the railroad said.

Bus riders didn’t find any relief from the foul weather either. Nassau County’s bus service reported systemwide delays.

Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE, said it had suspended service north of Roslyn due to worsening road conditions on the North Shore, resulting in no service to Glen Cove or Port Washington.

The N21, N23 and N27 terminated at Roslyn, and the n57 to Great Neck were also suspended. The bus routes were still closed late Wednesday night, according to the NICE website.

Awilda Deolmeda, 42, said she’s used to the foul weather. She was waiting for a 5 p.m. train at the LIRR station in Mineola and estimated her normal two-hour commute home to the Bronx would take three hours Wednesday night.

On Friday, when the last nor’easter struck Long Island, she said her commute home took four long hours.

“I guess I’ll have to wait, read a good book, and make friends with whoever is sitting next to me,” Deolmeda said.

With Zachary R. Dowdy, Mark Harrington and Craig Schneider

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